After multiple deaths, COVID-19 patient discharged from hospital

Chad Frey
The Kansan

May 12 was a big day for 60-year-old Brett Foster. It was a day of celebration, as he was able to leave NMC Health and head home for the first time in seven months. 

"During this process I died four times, and was brought back," Foster said. "I know God's not done with me."

Before 60-year-old Brett Foster's seven-month fight with COVID was over, he died four times. He was able to go home from Newton Med on May 12.

Foster was admitted to Newton Medical Center in October 2020 with COVID-19. He was sick — feeling like he had the flu and vomiting. The week of Halloween he was tested several times before finally testing positive.

It turns out he had a severe case, one that nearly killed him. 

After he was transferred to another hospital Foster suffered a heart attack and a stroke. He endured an allergic reaction to medicine for blood clot prevention and paralysis from the neck down as his body reacted to steroids used to fight COVID-19. 

When his kidneys shut down, he was transported to another hospital that could provide additional specialty care.

"When I was in the hospital I just got sicker and sicker and sicker," Foster said. "They moved me from the Newton hospital to St. Francis (Wichita), from there to St. Theresa's."

May 12 was a big day for 60-year-old Brett Foster. It was a day of celebration, as he was able to leave NMC Health and head home for the first time in seven months.

"It was hard. We could not see him. He was in the hosptial for six weeks and we could not see him," said Tangela Welch, Foster's daughter.

She would speak with, pray with and play music for Foster on the phone daily as he struggled with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

His prognosis was dire — but he and his family refused to give up. Instead of placing Foster in long-term care, his family looked for an inpatient physical rehabilitation program. Denied by four hospitals, he returned to Newton Med. 

And the day that they accepted him, I can't even explain what my family and I were going through," Welch said. "It was the biggest blessing ever ... it was like this overwhelming miracle."

Foster spent just three weeks in the unit. He worked with physical therapy and occupational therapy for three hours a day. His strong spirit and love for God helped him push through the pain and get back on his feet.

"It has been a long, arduous process," Foster said. "When I first got here, all I could do is lift my head up and down. I couldn't sit up in bed. I had no control of my limbs. I just kept working at it until, I am at the point now, I can do everything except walk by myself."

He can walk with a walker, 

Then, last week, he was able to go home. Hospital staff lined the halls of Newton Med as he was taken out the doors and helped into a car for his return home. 

Tears were flowing along that hallway — and not just from Foster and his family. 

"i want to thank all the staff. The doctors, nurses, physical therapist, the cleaning lady — everybody. They mean a lot to me," Foster said. 

Brett Foster went through a heart attack, stroke and paralysis during his fight against COVID-19. After all of that, he was able to go home from NMC last week.